DRUMLANRIG: Road that led to transport minister

Graeme Pearson. Picture: David Moir
Graeme Pearson. Picture: David Moir
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OVER the years, Holyrood observers have learned much about Stewart Stevenson’s youthful precocity.

His accounts of his early life as a self-proclaimed highly promising youngster have included details of the SNP MSP’s reading habits (aged five he read J.D. Mackie’s A History of Scotland, aged seven he read Lloyd George’s biography) to his teenage acne (it was quite something, apparently).

To that list we can add driving a motor car. Last week, he reminisced about learning to drive during a Holyrood debate on road safety. Stevenson revealed that fifty years ago he bought a part share in a 1928 Austin 7 with a top speed of 28 mph.

“I drove that car around unlicensed and uninsured and off the public road – or at least that is what I am telling you here. I started driving as a 12-year-old and acquired the skills very rapidly,” he boasted.

Presumably these “skills” held him in good stead when he later became transport minister.

Criminals rue Pearson’s lucky escape

The Labour MSP Graeme Pearson (left) used the same debate to speak of his gratitude to the emergency services who saved his life after a teenage car crash. “When I was a young man in my teenage years, I was a statistic. I had the success of crashing my parents’ car in darkness on a country road, which nearly saw the end of me. Probably many people wished that that outcome had been delivered,” he said ruefully – no doubt thinking of the unfortunate criminals who crossed his path when he was director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

Beam me up Willie, and bring light to campaign

In his quest to adopt a “sunshine strategy” and inject a more positive message into the pro-Union campaign, Willie Rennie (right) has certainly been practising what he preaches. The Liberal Democrat leader was happy to strike a “sunshine face” pose for TV cameras and was branded “Mr Ray Beam” by former leader Charles Kennedy. All that, before he came skipping onto the stage for his keynote speech as “I’m Walking on Sunshine” blared out.

Carmichael has family whipped into line

In his old job as Lib Dem party whip, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael was a dab hand at putting the pressure on errant Lib Dem MPs to get them to toe the party line.

It seems those tricks extend to his nearest and dearest.

He revealed that pupils in the Orkney school attended by his son had recently voted 3:1 in favour of a No vote.

“One of these votes may have been cast by a young man with one eye on what the outcome might mean for his pocket money,” he admitted.